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The characters of Jonson cannot be defined like those of SHAKSPERB;
“ Which are not of an age, but of all times."
They are such as only existed for the most part in his own—They speak in consequence a language deformed by affectation, and obscured by local allusion. Yet, so wonderful is the strength of this Hercules, that he may be stiled the great Historian of the Drama, and from his page is reflected the most pera fect image of the domestic manners of our Ancestors in the Sixteenth Century.
Our romantic Sires, as a worthy companion to their belief in the doctrine of Demons and Witches, believed in the transmutation of Metals, the Philosopher's Stone, and other conundrums of a similar nature ; to ridicule the latter folly, this admirable play was written.
If the Writer did not dread the undefined terrors of libel, he might venture to say, Jonson was too wise to attack the belief in Witchcraft, sanctioned by the learned ignorance of his Sovereign's sublime treatise entitled, Dæmonologia.
T be sickness hot, a master quit for fear,
FORTUNE, that favours fools, these two short hours We wish
away, both for your sakes and ours, Judging spectators; and desire in place, To the author justice, to ourselves but grace. Our scene is London, 'cause we would make 'known, No country's mirth is better than our own: No clime breeds better matter for your whore, Bawd, 'squire, impostor, many persons more, Whose manners, now callod humours, feed the stage; And which have still been subject for the rage
Or spleen of comic writers. Though this pen
he lives in doth endure The vices that she breeds, above their cure. But when the wholesome remedies are sweet, And in their working, gain and profit meet, He hopes to find no spirit so much diseas’d, But will with such fair correctives be pleas'd : For here he doth not fear who can apply. If there be any that will sit so nigh Unto the stream, to look what it doth run, They shall find things, they'd think, or wish, were done; They are so natural follies, but so shown, As even the doers may see, and yet not own.
DRUR Y - LANE.
Men. SUBTLE, the Alchymist,
Mr. Aickin. Face, the Housekeeper,
Mr. Palmer. Sir EPICUR E MAMMON, Knight,
Mrs. A. Palmer. Neighbours, Officers, &c.
N. B. This Play never performed at Covent-Garden Theatre.
ACT I. SCENE 1.
FACE, SUBTLE, and DOL COMMON.
Sub. Do thy worst. I dare thee,
men? Sub. O, let the wild sheep loose. I'll gum your silk With good strong water, an' you come.
Dol. Will you have The neighbours hear you? Will you betray all ? “ Hạrk, I hear somebody."
Sub I shall mar
Face. You most notorious whelp, you insolent slave, Dare you